True (2013) Pop music brims with fascinating personalities. Avicii isn't one of them. He leads a dreamy, jet-fuel-vaporizing life as a DJ, minding the fader for massive… 2013-09-17 Avicii Electronic Pop Island
Music Review

True (2013)

SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIOSO Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) shows his DJ roots in his debut album True
SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIOSO Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) shows his DJ roots in his debut album True
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Sep 17, 2013; Lead Performance: Avicii; Genres: Electronic, Pop; Production: Island

Pop music brims with fascinating personalities. Avicii isn't one of them. He leads a dreamy, jet-fuel-vaporizing life as a DJ, minding the fader for massive crowds around the planet. His international smashes — the 2011 Grammy nominee ''Levels'' and this summer's yearning, inescapable ''Wake Me Up'' — inundate dance-festival libertines and supermarket shoppers alike.

But the blandly handsome 24-year-old Swede born Tim Bergling is merely a vessel, a party godhead. The challenge he faces, and mostly meets, on his official debut, True, is how to break up a woozy, whomping live experience into songs with feeling — to translate house music for the home. His answer: Invite a genuine smorgasbord of collaborators. These include Nile Rodgers of Chic and Daft Punk fame, bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski, eyeliner icon Adam Lambert, the Adele-esque Audra Mae, and anony-talents like Linnea Henriksson (fourth place, 2010 Swedish Idol). ''Wake Me Up'' opens with an acoustic thrum and young soulman Aloe Blacc belting lyrics custom-fit for callow youth: ''I wish that I could stay forever this young.... Life's a game made for everyone.'' True is inarguably blithe, with a four-four beat stalking every song, and it gobbles down neo-folk, disco, and Imagine Dragons (''Heart Upon My Sleeve'') with nary a hiccup. Still, there are plenty of anxious EDM builds and melancholy breaks to temper all that Jell-O-shot exuberance. Avicii's genre-hacking whimsy may seem decadent or oblivious. But it's undeniably optimistic — inspiring, even. B

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Originally posted Sep 11, 2013 Published in issue #1277-1278 Sep 20, 2013 Order article reprints